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The RG competition - Alex Boone vs big Leonard Davis!

Originally posted by MadDog49er:
I hope this "cross your fingers" approach to the OL works, but I am not a fan of the gamble, especially when our first two picks are going to be rotting on the sidelines this year and maybe next year, along with our second rounder from last year, CK. Me no likely this plan!

It's about two weeks until rookis even report to camp. We don't know who is going to rot on the sideline this year, or how frequently personnel groups will rotate through. As far as Kaep goes, Aaron Rodgers sat for more than 2 years, and it worked out fine for him. If we get great QB play in the future, I don't care what round they took Kaep in, or how long he sits.
Good questions regarding the OLine and good responses. This is the time of year to be nervous, so if we all have questions so be it.

The main problem with this line is that it is so young. Goodwin is the only old vet and he is bottom tier. Staley is mid-aged and is solid. Davis, Iupati and Boone came in together and have several years of experience which should really help solidify the line.

Backups may be a problem but if Kilgore replaces Snyder as back-up center the loss in experience will be balanced by strength and tenacity. Person is an unknown but they have been working with him for a couple of years and will know if he is ready. The rest of the line is very young and scary if they have to play, but that is the case with most teams and the 9ers are in better shape this year than last...Snyder and Rachal were just too weak to be anchors.

My sense is that, barring injury, this line will be one of the better evolving young lines this year and will stay strong for a long time with the young guys being developed. If they fail it will surprise me.
Originally posted by NCommand:
Here are my concerns with the OL and with Boone and I'll highlight some positives:
  1. CONCERNS: We have nobody to push Staley again and he is oft-injured. Staley had his best year last year (via pro bowl voting) when he lost some time d/t injuries and Boone played well in his absence. Boone pushed him all year and the FO noticed it by signing Boone to an extension. You don't think that motivated Staley? Obviously the coaching staff is high on Boone.
  2. The difference in technique between the T and the G position is night and day. Fangio also pointed out that while versatility is nice, it's still monumental that you have guys mastering their primary position and practicing it daily. We're not talking about a DL coming in and blocking for a few plays on offense here. There is also a huge difference between playing on the left side of the line vs. the right. Boone is not only moving from the T position to G, but from the left side to the right.
  3. We have an overstock of G's like Kilgore who need to learn their craft and be developed; they need to know what their position is and master it first and foremost instead of being a primary backup at RG, C & LG b/c we moved a T to the starting RG spot.
  4. If there IS an injury, we now have to change two positions on the line and chemistry is paramount to any line esp. in the WCO. Remember, we lead the league in pressures under 3 seconds to an athletic and mobile QB last year and Alex took some HUGE hits and was running for his life last year and that was with max protection, jumbo packages, an emphasis on the run game and creative use of it (QB bootlegs, fly-sweeps, crack-backs, pitch-outs, even middle screens - essentially a run, etc.).
  5. I have concerns with the fact that we now are installing year 2 of the WCO and we've added all these play-makers but we have so many questions along the OL at this point. There are too many "what if''s" right now if you want Alex to stand upright and our play makers to shine and this offense to develop; we should have been able to see the plan by now and players should have known their roles from day 1.
  6. With an overstock at G's, with a T moving to start at RG, we are not only thin at T but may have to cut a promising rookie G and/or pick up a veteran FA.
  7. Boone has trained his entire NFL career to be a starting T and his own mentor made mention how he is cut out and built perfectly for a T (matches his skill set perfectly). It didn't seem like he understood to tryout at the G spot either (my impression).
  8. I'm concerned about his height clogging up throwing lanes (quick slants) if he is stalemate with a DL or even pushed back. In order for him to win the low-man-wins matchup in the trenches, his stance is going to be the widest of any linemen which will also leave less pocket room to step up into and throw and you'll literally see RB's and pulling guards tripping over him or having to swing out wider if he isn't getting a serious push/movement with each fire. Unless he pushes a DT sideways or well off the LOS and stands him up in time, the RB may have less room to cut it back off his blocks. He's not a big, low-centered, yet compact road-grader like Iupati.
  9. POSITIVES: I love Boone and how hard this dude has worked. I do trust this coaching staff more than any other in the past and versatility is important. I suspect, we are only seeing a start to a competition between he, Kilgore and Looney and all will really push one another for that starting role.
I will say my ideal would have been him pushing Staley, genuinely for the starting LT position b/c their will be a major emphasis on the outside run game with Hunter/James (sealing the edge) and short yardage and in much better pass protection this year (all areas of strength for Boone). Staley has the experience edge and is better blocking on the run and out in space. I even considered moving Davis inside to RG and use that frame and nastiness there and start Boone at his more natural spot at RT. Or, do what I think the coaches are doing now and that is let Boone have the veteran courtesy to fight for the RG position but end up being the swing T by the time it's all said and done. Either way, its going to be a fun and REAL battle to watch this pre season.
You make some valid points and raise some important concerns. Great analysis, as usual.

However, lets not blow this out of proportion. RG is the only position at issue on the entire team. Its an important position, but compared to the many personnel issues of years past, and the fact that there are multiple possible candidates for the position already on the team, its really not a gigantic issue or problem at present. IMHO.

Physically Boone may not be a prototypical RG, but he's not without athletic ability and motivation. If Boone can't handle RG, then Kilgore also appears to be an upgrade over Snyder. My belief is that the coaches believed in Kilgore to replace Snyder, so they let Snyder sign elsewhere. Its because Boone leapt at the chance to start and has done so well at RG during the offseason workouts that he's there now.

Really, my only concern is that Boone starts at RG and gains weight for the position (he's already put on about 15 lbs he said last week), but then has to take over at LT or RT during the season due to (God forbid) an injury. Will he have to lose the weight he gained? Will the weight gain adversely affect his play at T?

I don't believe those are really huge concerns. Consider the Saints, whose starting Center last season was a guy named delaPuente--who was with the Niners as a second or third string RG before that. They had an okay season despite what appeared to be a major issue on their OL.

delaPuente played well for them, and had obviously been very well coached before he joined them!
Originally posted by oldninerdude:
You make some valid points and raise some important concerns. Great analysis, as usual.

However, lets not blow this out of proportion. RG is the only position at issue on the entire team. Its an important position, but compared to the many personnel issues of years past, and the fact that there are multiple possible candidates for the position already on the team, its really not a gigantic issue or problem at present. IMHO.

Physically Boone may not be a prototypical RG, but he's not without athletic ability and motivation. If Boone can't handle RG, then Kilgore also appears to be an upgrade over Snyder. My belief is that the coaches believed in Kilgore to replace Snyder, so they let Snyder sign elsewhere. Its because Boone leapt at the chance to start and has done so well at RG during the offseason workouts that he's there now.

Really, my only concern is that Boone starts at RG and gains weight for the position (he's already put on about 15 lbs he said last week), but then has to take over at LT or RT during the season due to (God forbid) an injury. Will he have to lose the weight he gained? Will the weight gain adversely affect his play at T?

I don't believe those are really huge concerns. Consider the Saints, whose starting Center last season was a guy named delaPuente--who was with the Niners as a second or third string RG before that. They had an okay season despite what appeared to be a major issue on their OL.

delaPuente played well for them, and had obviously been very well coached before he joined them!

Good to see you on here OND!

Excellent point about the weight gain/loss...he'll need that extra beef in the trenches whereas he'd want to be leaner playing out on an island as a T. Boone is not used to playing in the trenches with 350 NT's and huge bodies flying all over around him either. Night and day.

But these are just "concerns" at this juncture but if it doesn't pan out, it could really affect the entire growth of the offense in year 2 and esp. our new play makers.

Another point I failed to bring up is that there may have been a disconnect with Baalke and the coaching staff (or a hard right turn with Boone all of a sudden, like you noted). Clearly, the plan was not to try out Boone at RG as the rookies we brought in and all the veteran FA's we looked at were interior linemen. If they had planned on Boone taking over at RG all along, no doubt, we would have drafted at least one T and/or brought in a FA T to compete for the swing T position, which, we had to use last year d/t injuries.

And let's be honest, Boone has been developing at T for many, many years now and perfecting his craft and nobody has even mentioned Person until, well, this thread; he's still listed as a G. That's a lot of "hoping" Person has developed enough b/c like you said, if there is an injury to a T, Boone may have to shift over...may take him a few+ games to work back into proper technique/form/weight again - at which point we'd be hoping he AND Kilgore can step right in and perform. Or hope that Person can step right in and play T for Staley/Davis and leave Boone at RG. Either way, that's not an ideal situation esp. considering Staley is oft-injured.

So like another poster noted, this is the time to state concerns but also give the benefit of the doubt to the FO and coaching staff to develop a solid plan either way.
^ maybe it's just a mood. Maybe I'm not being fair. I'm just finding this kind of annoying and I'm probably wrong for that.

I think it's an assumption that all of the sudden, Boone is being looked at as a RG option. We still would have brought in vets to look at... we still would have taken OL that we targeted and avoided OTs that we didn't think much of. No, I assume that Jim, Greg, and the OL coaches had plans for Boone all along. They are far too diabolical to pull a Nolan and just suddenly decide, "hey, let's chuck this guy here and see what happenz."

Mike Person played LT and RT in college. His name hasn't been mentioned much, true... but we haven't known the Boone to RG plan for long. Maybe they have, and maybe they feel good about Person... or Boone being able to kick back out without missing much a beat.

My biggest concern would be for us to not start our 5th best OL... to force a lesser OL at RG just because of some perceived lack of depth at OT. That is NOT the way to handle things.
Originally posted by oldman9er:
^ maybe it's just a mood. Maybe I'm not being fair. I'm just finding this kind of annoying and I'm probably wrong for that.

I think it's an assumption that all of the sudden, Boone is being looked at as a RG option. We still would have brought in vets to look at... we still would have taken OL that we targeted and avoided OTs that we didn't think much of. No, I assume that Jim, Greg, and the OL coaches had plans for Boone all along. They are far too diabolical to pull a Nolan and just suddenly decide, "hey, let's chuck this guy here and see what happenz."

Mike Person played LT and RT in college. His name hasn't been mentioned much, true... but we haven't known the Boone to RG plan for long. Maybe they have, and maybe they feel good about Person... or Boone being able to kick back out without missing much a beat.

My biggest concern would be for us to not start our 5th best OL... to force a lesser OL at RG just because of some perceived lack of depth at OT. That is NOT the way to handle things.

That makes sense. All of us are reactionary, and Harbaugh and Roman already know what to expect from Person. Maybe he's ready to take Boone's swing tackle gig.
Originally posted by oldman9er:
^ maybe it's just a mood. Maybe I'm not being fair. I'm just finding this kind of annoying and I'm probably wrong for that.

I think it's an assumption that all of the sudden, Boone is being looked at as a RG option. We still would have brought in vets to look at... we still would have taken OL that we targeted and avoided OTs that we didn't think much of. No, I assume that Jim, Greg, and the OL coaches had plans for Boone all along. They are far too diabolical to pull a Nolan and just suddenly decide, "hey, let's chuck this guy here and see what happenz."

Mike Person played LT and RT in college. His name hasn't been mentioned much, true... but we haven't known the Boone to RG plan for long. Maybe they have, and maybe they feel good about Person... or Boone being able to kick back out without missing much a beat.

My biggest concern would be for us to not start our 5th best OL... to force a lesser OL at RG just because of some perceived lack of depth at OT. That is NOT the way to handle things.

In the end, you're probably right and no doubt, the coaches are exploring every option and stating every concern we are today (which alone is x100 more than I've felt comfortable saying even 2 years ago). LOL.

At the end of the day, you want competition and the more guys you have competing, the better. You want the five best starting. B/c, like you said, we KNOW what we have in Boone at T. I think he could start there today and play very well and get better and better each game and be our future there. But if he also possesses the skill set to start at RG and perform better than Kilgore, Looney, Slowey today (and over their upside) or any FA veteran out there, well, that's great too. We'll still need to find that swing T who we are confident in like we were with Boone last year (for Staley) but the trade off is that we'll be MORE confident than last year at RG b/c many assume Boone will end up being a better than Snyder with even better quality behind him in Kilgore/Looney/Slowey. So it's a fair trade, right? B/c it buys more time for Kilgore to step in per injury at T and we're confident Boone can just swing back out at T and not miss a beat after so many years of development there. The key is to have very little, if any (with even potential to be better) drop off per injury when you are a Championship team. And that's a far cry from being a team with getting enough General Practitioners on the field...we can have full time Specialists now!
[ Edited by NCommand on Jul 10, 2012 at 1:32 PM ]
Does anyone else realize this is the exact same situation we have been in for the past couple years with Chilo and Snyder?

Everyone outside of Dingleberry knew Snyder should of been the starter at RG from day 1 and that Chilo wasnt cutting it... But if Snyder went down or any other position on the line got injured (except for tackle last year which Boone took over)... then Chilo would step in at RG and Snyder slid to wherever position got injured.

Fast forward to today and we know two things...putting in a player who has never played significantly in an NFL game before may not cut it, and by all appearances Boone has done well so far this offseason at RG. Not to mention the OL camp coach (Lecharles Bentley?) already knew Boone would be making the transition before the offseason and has been prepping him all summer. Being a positive thinker, I think the team upgraded both at RG and at depth since I think Kilgore will be better depth than Snyder.
No Rachal.

That is all.
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
I hope this "cross your fingers" approach to the OL works, but I am not a fan of the gamble, especially when our first two picks are going to be rotting on the sidelines this year and maybe next year, along with our second rounder from last year, CK. Me no likely this plan!

"cross your fingers"?



I know you're serious, but that's a bit much to classify the approach. Yea, I can just see Harbaugh..."Hey Solari, cross your fingers!!!"

This has been a very calculated move by the coaching staff as evidenced by their history of moving players around to provide versatility like Bruce Miller's conversion or using ICE as a FB and so on. These all have been very calculated. Some work, some didn't like using Justin Smith as a blocker.

The coaches must feel that Boone provides them with the best solution at RG even with other guards on the squad.

And thanks oldman for the agreement.

Technique! Technique! Technique!

Peeps can learn especially if they have the capacity for it, some better than others. Looks like Boone is one of "them".

Really, really am happy for him given all the demons he's dealt with and continues to do so.

I really hope this experiment goes well. We will know within the month when TC comes around.

You can't hide being blown up by Justin Smith.

Originally posted by English:
No Rachal.That is all.

AMEN!!!!!
[ Edited by ninertico on Jul 10, 2012 at 2:21 PM ]
Originally posted by NinerBuff:
Originally posted by oldman9er:
^ maybe it's just a mood. Maybe I'm not being fair. I'm just finding this kind of annoying and I'm probably wrong for that.

I think it's an assumption that all of the sudden, Boone is being looked at as a RG option. We still would have brought in vets to look at... we still would have taken OL that we targeted and avoided OTs that we didn't think much of. No, I assume that Jim, Greg, and the OL coaches had plans for Boone all along. They are far too diabolical to pull a Nolan and just suddenly decide, "hey, let's chuck this guy here and see what happenz."

Mike Person played LT and RT in college. His name hasn't been mentioned much, true... but we haven't known the Boone to RG plan for long. Maybe they have, and maybe they feel good about Person... or Boone being able to kick back out without missing much a beat.

My biggest concern would be for us to not start our 5th best OL... to force a lesser OL at RG just because of some perceived lack of depth at OT. That is NOT the way to handle things.

That makes sense. All of us are reactionary, and Harbaugh and Roman already know what to expect from Person. Maybe he's ready to take Boone's swing tackle gig.

We keep trying to reiterate this, but all anyone can seem to muster in response is "Ermagherd, he's unprovin."

Person was specifically drafted to be a complete swing player like Snyder was, and was envisioned as being able to play all three positions - G, T, and C. He performed very well at both tackle and guard last pre-season, specifically tackle. Just because he didn't play in the regular season last year didn't mean he wasn't capable.

We just had better depth. He didn't have to see the field, and it would've taken a lot to need him out there in the fire. Staley/Davis + Boone + Snyder all would've had to have gotten hurt.

Right now I'm interested in seeing where Person's progression is, because if he is better than last year as a rookie, I think he is just fine as the other reserve swing tackle with Boone, and based on what they're doing with Boone, it would seem the staff is pretty darn comfortable with him being the other reserve tackle.
[ Edited by OnTheClock on Jul 10, 2012 at 4:15 PM ]
Originally posted by oldninerdude:
Wasn't Boone the guy who reportedly handled Aldon in last year's training camp? Once Boone got into shape and dedicated himself to training, I think he's become a guy they'd love to start. Last season he proved his worth and ability with the snaps he got at swing tackle.

Compare him to Snyder, who was handed the RT position a couple seasons ago and couldn't keep it, then given the RG spot and couldn't beat out Rachal (until Rachal proved himself incapable to Harbaugh last season), tried out at C and couldn't do it.

Big difference in the "jack of all trades" label for Snyder vs Boone. One truly was "the master of none," the other has apparently played well enough to make the coaches try to find a place for him to start.

Tico's correct, imho: if Boone can get the technique down (and I'm betting he can), he's apparently got the other physical and mental tools needed. I can even see him as the leader of the OLinemen eventually.

YES!

""Boone said Smith "is probably going to be a future Pro Bowler soon." He said he and Smith got into a minor dustup Friday when Boone's hands got in Smith's face during pass-blocking drills. Their helmets came off, words were exchanged but no punches were thrown. "My rule is I don't fight my teammates," Boone said. "Other teams - I'll fight anybody."

Still Boone had high praise for the rookie. "He's fast, he's quick, he can bull you," Boone said. "He's got all the things that you look for in a defensive end, and he's great to practice against because he helps you sit back and be square. If you give him an inch, he'll take a mile from you. ... And he brings a fierceness to the game. He's very ferocious. He's a violent player. And he's going to be good."

Boone also has been impressive. At 6-8, he's able to use his length to offset Smith's long arms, and he has been one of the few offensive linemen to handle the rookie in practice. Boone, of course, overhauled his body a year ago and is just over 300 pounds in training camp. The 49ers want him to be the so-called swing tackle this year (a backup on both the right and left sides), a role that veteran Barry Sims filled in the last two seasons.""

Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/49ers/archives/2011/08/49ers-find-a-leader-for-the-secondary.html#storylink=cpy
^^ Good Find!

It was pretty cool that even at that point, it was obvious that Aldon Smith was a special talent.

I'm glad that Boone is taking the initiative at the RG spot. It's been said numerous times, but his height is a disadvantage if he can't maintain leverage. But if he can keep leverage, then his height will do wonders in pass protection. It's also nice to root for a guy who has genuinely turned his life around.
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by oldman9er:
^ maybe it's just a mood. Maybe I'm not being fair. I'm just finding this kind of annoying and I'm probably wrong for that.

I think it's an assumption that all of the sudden, Boone is being looked at as a RG option. We still would have brought in vets to look at... we still would have taken OL that we targeted and avoided OTs that we didn't think much of. No, I assume that Jim, Greg, and the OL coaches had plans for Boone all along. They are far too diabolical to pull a Nolan and just suddenly decide, "hey, let's chuck this guy here and see what happenz."

Mike Person played LT and RT in college. His name hasn't been mentioned much, true... but we haven't known the Boone to RG plan for long. Maybe they have, and maybe they feel good about Person... or Boone being able to kick back out without missing much a beat.

My biggest concern would be for us to not start our 5th best OL... to force a lesser OL at RG just because of some perceived lack of depth at OT. That is NOT the way to handle things.

In the end, you're probably right and no doubt, the coaches are exploring every option and stating every concern we are today (which alone is x100 more than I've felt comfortable saying even 2 years ago). LOL.

At the end of the day, you want competition and the more guys you have competing, the better. You want the five best starting. B/c, like you said, we KNOW what we have in Boone at T. I think he could start there today and play very well and get better and better each game and be our future there. But if he also possesses the skill set to start at RG and perform better than Kilgore, Looney, Slowey today (and over their upside) or any FA veteran out there, well, that's great too. We'll still need to find that swing T who we are confident in like we were with Boone last year (for Staley) but the trade off is that we'll be MORE confident than last year at RG b/c many assume Boone will end up being a better than Snyder with even better quality behind him in Kilgore/Looney/Slowey. So it's a fair trade, right? B/c it buys more time for Kilgore to step in per injury at T and we're confident Boone can just swing back out at T and not miss a beat after so many years of development there. The key is to have very little, if any (with even potential to be better) drop off per injury when you are a Championship team. And that's a far cry from being a team with getting enough General Practitioners on the field...we can have full time Specialists now!

Hey NCommand! What's up dude!

Love the analysis above. I however would like to offer an alternative view;

It could be possible that Boone is the best option at RG hands down even if it means that we take reserve him at LT. It may be the coaching staff feels he'll make a more effective RG than OT this year. We may be forced to pick up a vet OT and send some of our OG projects to the practice squad. I have no problem with this. Kilgore is being penciled in as a back-up to Goodwin because Chase Beeler has turned out to be much more of a project than expected. I think Boone will project well, but we'll see. I want to see him next to Anthony Davis - the chemistry between these two will be key.
Originally posted by MadDog49er:
I hope this "cross your fingers" approach to the OL works, but I am not a fan of the gamble, especially when our first two picks are going to be rotting on the sidelines this year and maybe next year, along with our second rounder from last year, CK. Me no likely this plan!
Yeah, this front office and coaching staff have just been lucky, that's all.

They should correct the huge draft mistake (not trading up for deCastro) you say they made.

They could correct that mistake now by trading both "rotting" picks, AJ Jenkins and LaMichael James, to Pittsburgh for deCastro an plug him in at RG.

OL problem solved!

Heck, to make it happen, throw in Looney as well. Jenkins, LMJ and Looney to Pittsburgh for deCastro!

Brilliant! A sure cure for the RG problem! Uncross those fingers!

One question though: didn't deCastro run a 5.4 40 yard dash at the combine, and Looney runs a 4.9?

So deCastro is .50, a full half second, SLOWER than Looney, right? That translates to what, 5 yards or so over a 40 yard dash? Maybe 2-3 yards slower on a pull or a trap play.

And who cares if deCastro can't get to those ILBs on the second level, even Gore would already be past him on those plays anyway.

Okay, one more question: how does trading Jenkins, James and Looney for a SLOW guy cure a lack of speed and explosiveness on the offense?

I could be wrong here, but it seems to me that we fans are the lucky ones, cause we get to watch a team assembled by Baalke and run by Harbaugh!